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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Investor Spotlight

March 15, 2016

This week, we sat down with Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, president of National University and chancellor of the National University System to discuss the university's undeniable impact on our region. For more than four decades, National University has trained our region's workforce – providing convenient, quality education for veterans, adult learners and more. In a new partnership with AMN Healthcare, National University will assist with the development of AMN's online, educational practices and pedagogy aimed at clinical staff. National University – and its partnerships with companies such as AMN – is spearheading the ongoing professional development of our region and workforce. 

1)      Please tell us a little about National University. We’re not looking for the traditional ‘about us.’ Feel free to share anecdotes, projects or interesting facts that others may not know.

National University has deep ties to the San Diego community and our military population. Our founder Dr. David Chigos was, in fact, a Navy retiree and working for General Dynamics when he identified a need to provide quality, accessible education for working professionals. This included for our military community, which faced regular deployments and class scheduling challenges. National University became a pioneer in meeting the needs of adult learners, launching a unique one-class-per-month format that was particularly convenient for our military students to pursue their studies. Since our founding in 1971, we have grown to become the second-largest private, nonprofit university in California. We have more than two dozen locations throughout the state and Nevada, and locally we are in Chula Vista, La Mesa, Spectrum, Kearny Mesa, Carlsbad, Rancho Bernardo as well as at San Diego area military base locations. We also were among the early pioneers of online education, and so our students have a choice or learning online, on campus or through a hybrid format. We offer more than 100 programs in all areas of study, and our Sanford College of Education is among the Top Ten largest in the nation.

2)      Ensuring San Diego has a steady stream of talented university grads is essential to our regional competitiveness strategy. What are some of the advantages to having your university’s footprint in San Diego?

National University is proud to be in and of San Diego since it brings so many opportunities to partner with wonderful organizations dedicated to keeping our region competitive, such as the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.

In fact, you may not realize how many people in our community are National University graduates. They include council members Myrtle Cole and Marti Emerald, former San Diego mayor and police chief Jerry Sanders, who is now CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, School District Superintendents such as Jeff Felix of the Coronado School District and Duane Coleman of the Oceanside Unified School District, and your neighbors and work colleagues.

We are serving a very important need in the San Diego community in collaboration with the other great institutions in our region. About 80 percent of our undergraduate students are transfer students, many who come to us from other local San Diego institutions and community colleges. Many of the students in our graduate programs come from some of San Diego’s well-known institutions, such as San Diego State University, and other CSUs, as well as from the University of California system – so we are clearly providing a pathway to ongoing professional education that will directly serve our community.

We also have established educational partnerships with both the County of San Diego and the City of San Diego, which named us their Preferred Employee Education Partner, to serve our region’s working professionals in the public sector. Community partnerships are important to us, and that includes our involvement as the San Diego Padres’ exclusive education partner. We look forward to holding our commencement at the Padres stadium in 2016.

3)      San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation.  National University is very engaged with many of them. Pick a San Diego-area company that’s at the top of its game.

Education is such a driver for our region’s competitiveness and it’s been exciting to collaborate with a number of companies as they redefine workplace education. One example is with AMN Healthcare, which is one of San Diego’s greatest companies and the nation’s largest provider of healthcare staffing and workforce solutions. AMN’s CEO and President Susan Salka has led a phenomenal team to be at the forefront of redefining the workforce in health care today and is dedicating efforts to ongoing education and training for clinical staff.  We have partnered with AMN Healthcare to complement the company’s extensive and targeted educational efforts by supplying it with the technological framework to enhance its offerings. This has been a great fit since National University was a first mover with online learning, so we are assisting with the development of online practices and pedagogy aimed at clinical staff. What AMN is doing is very impressive and underscores the importance of ongoing professional development in ways that will positively impact our region and workforce. We are pleased to be partnering with AMN on this important initiative.

4)      What do you anticipate for National University in the next 5 years? What do you anticipate for the San Diego region?

I am so pleased to have served over the past three years as both President of National University and as Chancellor of the National University System. Now it’s time to hand over presidential duties April 1 to Dr. David Andrews who comes to us as the highly-regarded Dean of the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University. I am confident he will do a superb job and the San Diego community will enjoy getting to know him. I will continue to work closely with Dr. Andrews as I focus more of my attention on the System, a network of accredited nonprofit education institutions serving higher education and K-12 students and anchored by National University.

San Diego is such an innovation-driven community. We are already a clear leader in health, biotech and other major fields, and we can expect even more amazing breakthroughs in the sciences and creative industries in the next five years. Our cross-border region is also one of our greatest strengths, with the potential to make San Diego an even stronger force in the global economy. Partnerships with groups such as the All Star Games 2016 will also put San Diego on the map and allow us to share our great stories with the wider world. Educational institutions such as ours will be critical for identifying market-relevant programs and developing partnerships with the private and public sector. National University has been a pioneer in offering quality education for the working adult, and we will continue to be a leader in providing innovative education models to help address an anticipated need in California of 1.5 million more college graduates by 2025. We will do this through the creation of programs that prepare students for new and in-demand professions, such as our popular cybersecurity program. And we will continue to train a new generation of leaders - great teachers, civic leaders and professionals – as part of our commitment to strengthening our economy one graduate at a time.

We also see ourselves as a major national driver in offering and putting into practice innovative approaches to education. National University prepares more teachers than any other university in California, and we see our role expanding on a national scale by identifying and supporting initiatives that emphasize PreK-12 student development and success. As the home of the Sanford Education Center, launched in 2014, we are currently leading the national adoption of two such programs – Sanford Harmony and Sanford Inspire – to classrooms in San Diego and nationwide in collaboration with universities around the country.  We also have similar plans for our unique “cause sales” fundraising programs developed by the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy to support the work of nonprofits. These three initiatives come from the vision of philanthropist and entrepreneur T. Denny Sanford, and as we are very proud to be leading their national expansion as it aligns closely with our own mission as a private, nonprofit university serving the public good.

March 8, 2016
 

 This week we sat down with Shannon Foster, general manager of Hotel Solamar in downtown San Diego. With an $8 million renovation set to wrap up this month, Hotel Solamar - EDC's newest investor - is adding to the vibrancy of downtown. 

 

1) Please tell us about Hotel Solamar. We’re not looking for the traditional ‘about us.’ Feel free to share anecdotes, projects or interesting facts that others may not know.

Hotel Solamar launched in 2005 and was the first Kimpton in Southern California at the time. Today, Kimpton has 66 hotels and a much bigger California presence—but we’re proud of the fact that we were first in the market. Being an 11-year-old property in the fast-growing downtown neighborhood, we were ready for an update last year and I’m thrilled to say we just completed a full scale renovation. The new design captures the historic essence of San Diego, Balboa Park and the missions, but with a contemporary twist. Another thing we’re really proud of is our service—it’s really like nothing else you will experience in San Diego. It’s anticipatory, genuine and personal.   

2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

San Diego is such a fast-growing market, especially in downtown, which has really developed over the last 11 years since we’ve been here. East Village and Gaslamp are perfect examples. Plus, there is no shortage of outdoor activities available to locals and tourists—surfing, hiking, biking, standup paddle boarding, you name it. The restaurant space is also growing and there are so many startup companies situated right here in San Diego.  This is the second largest microbrewery city in the country, blending that into a marriage of healthy fusion of beach life, entrepreneurial spirit and amazing weather year-round. I’m not sure you could ask for much more!   

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

I think Pura Vida is a really wonderful company. The idea behind this business was a simple inspiration found in Costa Rica and started out with 400 bracelets having been sold in 2011, but it has really taken off. They’ve sold over 2 million bracelets and their products are now seen around the world, symbolizing the need to live life to the fullest and to give back to the community. From what I’ve read, they’ve donated nearly $700K to 190 charities, so they are definitely living their social responsibility, which certainly really makes me respect them even more.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

We’ve recently announced a new property in Amsterdam and for the next five years we will have a growing international presence. I think San Diego is going to continue to grow, evolve, and attract the brightest minds from around the world. Because it’s such a great place to do business, newer companies, such as Houzz and Pura Vida are making a mark on the entire country and beyond. I’m excited to be a part of this growth and show our guests daily just how incredible this city is.

 

January 5, 2016

This week we sat down with Seth Stein, president of workforce recruitment at Eastridge Workforce Solutions, to discuss how Eastridge is helping companies refine their talent recruitment processes. With Eastridge's Talent Acquisition Assessment, companies can see how their recruitment and technology practices stack up against their peers, providing insight on how to improve and refine current hiring processes.

For more on talent, attend EDC’s study release event to see how San Diego stacks up against its peer metropolitan cities in talent attraction and retention on Jan. 14. Register here.

1) Please tell us what Eastridge Workforce Solutions does.

Backed by over 40 years of experience, Eastridge Workforce Solutions makes attracting and managing a skilled workforce easier. We develop strategic workforce management programs, innovative technology platforms, and comprehensive staffing solutions customized for your organization. As the success of an organization relies on its talent, businesses partner with Eastridge to solve their workforce needs and stay ahead of the competition.

2) Identify current obstacles companies face in hiring.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics November 2015 report showed the unemployment rate declined to 4.8 percent, the lowest level in seven years. Across the country, niche positions are becoming increasingly difficult to fill as candidates receive numerous compelling offers.

In the recently published Consumer Price Index Report, consumer confidence in the economy is the highest rate in eight years. Candidates are feeling more confident than ever that they can find a position that offers competitive compensation and career growth. With multiple offers, candidates are demanding higher pay—even for entry-level positions.

As San Diego has shifted to a more candidate-driven market, employers have to quickly revise their hiring strategy. In order to secure top candidates, organizations must have a well-defined recruitment process to ensure consistent and repeatable performance through the hiring life cycle. This measures effectiveness and sets a baseline for ongoing expectations.

Organizations that do not have efficient hiring processes, like quick turnaround time from interviews to offers, are subject to losing top candidates to their competitors. To help HR professionals assess hiring challenges in today’s labor market, Eastridge Workforce Solutions developed a Talent Acquisition Assessment to gather data from companies nationwide and learn more about their recruitment performance.

3) How does the Talent Acquisition Assessment enable companies to refine their current hiring processes?

The Talent Acquisition Assessment allows companies to gauge their current recruitment and technology practices against their peers, helping reveal problem areas that exist in current hiring, communication and technology methods.

Organizations that are aware of any gaps that exist in current recruitment processes are better able to secure top candidates and stay ahead of the competition in today’s labor market. Companies that have leading edge recruitment technology and proven talent acquisition practices can source, interview, and hire top candidates quicker. Sticking to outdated methods creates gaps in talent acquisition performance.

December 8, 2015

This week, we sat down with Sean Curtis and Barbara Curtis Smalley of Coffee Ambassador, a family-owned office coffee service company based in San Diego.  Serving over 250,000 cups of coffee a day to businesses across the region, Coffee Ambassador keeps San Diego’s workforce well-charged in the comfort of their own offices.   

1) Please tell us what your company/organization does.

Founded by Bill and Vera Curtis in their Pacific Beach garage, Coffee Ambassador has kept the coffee brewing in San Diego breakrooms for 45 years. Now led by the brother and sister team of Sean Curtis and Barbara Curtis Smalley, the company has used its nearly five decades of experience in the office coffee industry and local business community to create modern coffee solutions for offices of any size.

With the rise in popularity of high-end cafes, today’s workers have raised their expectations of coffee, and those expectations have extended to the workplace. It’s not just about getting a quality brew, although that is a major component. They crave the café experience at work--the opportunity to reflect, connect, recharge, or brainstorm as they would at their favorite coffee shop. Coffee Ambassador creates these great tasting moments at local businesses, where 250,000 Coffee Ambassador cups are filled every day.

2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

San Diegans appreciate local quality. Quality weather, food, leisure—these are just some of the things that San Diegans love to enjoy. It’s no surprise then that they understand the value of both having a quality coffee experience at work and supporting a local, family-owned company that is committed to providing superior customer service.

In gratitude for the tremendous local support we have received, we have kept our focus solely on being the “office coffee experts” in San Diego County. Staying local and serving locally allows us to monitor developments in the international coffee industry but implement solutions with a unique understanding of coffee trends within San Diego. 

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

Begun in 1989 as a small screenprinting shop in San Diego, Custom Logos has transformed into a leading national supplier of promotional products and branded apparel.  They still do their own screenprinting and embroidery in house at their Kearny Mesa headquarters, which allows them to closely monitor quality and provide a quick turnaround time. We are big fans of their high-standard products, not to mention their personal and professional customer interaction.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

We anticipate that companies will continue choose San Diego as a draw for high-quality workers and that a number of startups in incubators today will grow into large local presences in the next five years. As a company, we want to grow with them, supporting them from the beginning and then adapting to their changing needs. We also anticipate that as more Millennials join the workforce, the expectation of a better office coffee experience will become tied into quality of life at work. While the products or equipment may change over time, we hope to keep providing the same great tasting moments that our customers have come to expect and appreciate.

November 23, 2015

This week, EDC talked with Jay Scovie, director of Corporate Communications and Education at Kyocera International, Inc. The company – with its North American headquarters in San Diego – manufactures high-tech products for use by semiconductor companies, among others. In just under five decades, the company’s North American operations have expanded to more than 4,000 employees dedicated to the development of innovative products.

1) Please tell us what your company does.

Kyocera was founded in Japan in 1959 — our name comes from “Kyoto” and “Ceramic.”  We serve many diverse high-tech markets, including office document equipment, telecom equipment, solar energy, and engineered components, which are used in electronic, medical, industrial and automotive applications. Much of our work is tied to the semiconductor industry. In 1971, we became the first Japanese company with manufacturing operations in the State of California. We have manufactured ceramic semiconductor packages in San Diego for 44 years. Our telecom equipment business came to the U.S. in 2000 when we acquired Qualcomm’s wireless phone business.  And today, many leading institutions in San Diego (and worldwide) generate renewable power using Kyocera’s solar modules, which are based on silicon cells, a type of semiconductor.  It sounds trendy now, but Kyocera started its solar business in 1975, making us one of the early solar pioneers.

2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

My short list would begin with “best climate on Earth,” which makes San Diego ideal for events and tourism. I’ve never lived in another city where you could enjoy pristine beaches, desert, mountains and snow, all in the same day.  From a business standpoint, San Diego has an entrepreneurial culture, globally-renowned universities, Pacific Rim gateway status, and of course, U.S./Mexico manufacturing and trade. We are a global hub for wireless and biotech, with legendary research institutes like Salk, Scripps, Venter, Sanford Burnham Prebys, and yes, the Zoo and SeaWorld. We have unique technology incubators like Biocom and Connect. These all make San Diego “the place” for great minds to meet, with unique meeting opportunities — like the Kyoto Prize Symposium.  Certainly, a lot of people moved to San Diego for the weather. That’s no surprise, but the weather is really just a bonus.

 3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

Can you really pick one favorite?  Ballast Point would have to merge with Rubio’s.  Nobody has a crystal ball, but if you ask this question in a year I think we’ll all be saying it’s Qualcomm — again. They are constantly reinventing, and their current restructuring is going to be pivotal. It’s easy to envision Qualcomm emerging leaner, more focused, and ready to establish new paradigms for the global communications industry — again.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

Globalization will continue, and companies with a global network for R&D, supply, manufacturing and marketing will fare best.  That should be good for Kyocera. The forces shaping our global economy generally align to create new markets for Kyocera’s core products and technologies. Our founder, Dr. Kazuo Inamori, has always considered it impractical to make long-term business plans – even five-year plans – due to the pace of change in technology. Instead, we focus on accumulating small results daily, making today better than tomorrow, and tomorrow better than today. We are very fortunate that our advanced materials have such broad application in the fields of electronics and industry, in many of the most innovative new components, devices and equipment. This gives us potential to improve the lives of millions of people in the areas of information processing, communications, renewable energy, medical technologies, and automotive components. What do I anticipate in five years?  Kyocera will still be thriving. The company will still have North American headquarters in San Diego. And I expect to be here, too, although if it’s lunchtime… I may be at Rubio’s.

Kyocera Corporate Profile from CC&E on Vimeo.

 

November 9, 2015

This week we sat down with Kurt Chilcott, president and CEO of CDC Small Business Finance. Headquartered in San Diego, the nonprofit serves the financing needs of small businesses in California, Arizona and Nevada. CDC offers fixed-rate, low down-payment loans to promote economic development and business expansion. Since 1978, the organization has helped provide 174,000 jobs throughout the country.

 

1) Tell us what CDC Small Business Finance does.

Our roots go back nearly 40 years when a seasoned businessman with a passion for community development – Art Goodman – launched CDC Small Business Finance. In many respects, Art, along with the old Bank of Commerce, pioneered Small Business Administration (SBA) lending in San Diego and beyond. They fine-tuned a loan production process that made SBA lending attractive to traditional banks and set the stage for the development of SBA financing for small businesses. Today, CDC offers financing to startups, as well as more established businesses. Our financing capabilities range from $50,000 to over $20 million. The capital is the means to an end: job creation and economic development in the communities we serve throughout California, Arizona and Nevada. We are the nation’s largest SBA-504 program lender (loans used to buy commercial real estate), as well as the largest SBA Community Advantage lender. And we continue to innovate within the small business finance space, a huge asset for San Diego.

2)   What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?  

San Diego has always been small-business centric, which lines up perfectly with CDC’s mission to help small businesses grow and create jobs.  Small business by its nature is entrepreneurial and so are we. We’re constantly developing better ways to help entrepreneurs pursue their small business dreams via access to capital. Our own entrepreneurial spirit and belief in the power of economic development motivated us to put down our corporate anchor in Liberty Station in 2004 before any of the new development became reality. It was a bold move at the time, but we feel good about being a corporate pioneer in one of the city’s more successful revitalization areas.

3)  San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

Manufacturers are among the most dynamic small businesses because they comprise a strong industry that keeps dollars and jobs in the San Diego economy.  A couple of examples that we have helped grow are Stone Brewing Co. and Steico Industries. Stone Brewing really took off when it built its new San Marcos production facility which we’re proud to have financed. And Steico Industries, which manufactures precision components for aerospace and medical industries, created an entire manufacturing village, buying multiple buildings in the same business park with the help of SBA financing.

4)  What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

We envision a good deal of regional innovation and diversification, all in pursuit of developing and delivering the best low-cost, easy-to-access loan products and services to small businesses. Their success is the catalyst for job creation in San Diego.  The small business landscape is changing dramatically for San Diego, with the amount of available capital growing and coming from a variety of sources, the newest one being online lenders. Collaboration has been the hallmark of the San Diego business community and that should continue, as it helps us compete effectively against other regions. Our challenge going forward is to create new business in a variety of industries that spawn quality, high-paying jobs.

October 27, 2015

This week we sat down with Dan Ryan, Executive Vice President and Regional Market Director (San Diego) & Strategic Operations at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE:ARE) to learn more about Alexandria’s San Diego operations.

 

We are thankful to Alexandria for their consistent support of EDC's regional economic development efforts through sponsorship of our study on the Economic Impact of San Diego's Research Institutions, and of the upcoming MetroConnect Grand Prize event on Nov. 17. To join us, click here.

1)      Please tell us what Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. does. 

Founded in 1994, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. established the life sciences real estate niche with its first properties in Torrey Pines, and has evolved into a global office real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on collaborative science and technology urban campuses.  In addition to its large presence in San Diego, Alexandria has a large footprint in Cambridge, San Francisco, New York City and Seattle.

In San Diego, we are known for our significant campuses, such as Campus Pointe, which was California’s first LEED Platinum certified core and shell building.  Our innovative campuses create opportunities to collaborate, and offer unique amenities, including Brian Malarkey restaurants, fitness centers and organic farms. The Alexandria at Torrey Pines, our latest endeavor, serves as a communal place, filling the need to activate the Torrey Pines Mesa with a new restaurant, gym, theater and meeting and event space. Our high-quality tenants include Illumina, Celgene, Eli Lilly, UC San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute and more. 


2)      What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

San Diego is an extremely vibrant, highly educated and entrepreneurial community.  Our dynamic and innovative campuses, complemented by the climate, allow our tenants to recruit and retain top talent.  With a strong concentration of biotech and pharmaceutical companies, the world’s finest sequencing, and renowned institutions, San Diego is one of the most successful innovation clusters.

 

3)      San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

I really admire Illumina, a company that not only sets the bar for its industry, but also continually exceeds it.  Illumina is the unequivocal leader in next generation DNA sequencing and Alexandria’s largest tenant on our engaging San Diego campus.  They have a tremendous ability to execute quarter after quarter at the highest level, delivering new technologies and cutting-edge products, and enabling massive adoption of sequencing across healthcare and other industries.

 

4)      What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

Since joining Alexandria five years ago, we have grown and transformed the San Diego region from approximately 1.6 million square feet to nearly four million square feet of highly dynamic real estate today. In the next five years, we will continue to develop relationships with high-quality tenants and will remain committed to growing San Diego’s life science industry.

September 15, 2015
This week we sat down with Phil Blair, Executive Officer of Manpower-West, to learn more about the company’s vital role as one of San Diego’s largest and most prominent employment agencies. For four decades, Blair and Mel Katz have worked to build their thriving temp-to-hire firm into San Diego’s fourth largest employer. Manpower is dedicated to enriching people's lives with meaningful employment and development opportunities, and providing companies with innovative workforce solutions that help them increase agility, improve productivity and boost the bottom line - in San Diego and beyond. 
 
1) Tell us about Manpower-West.
We help our corporate clients throughout the county to find trained and capable employees to fill their temporary, temp-to-hire, and staff positions. Through Manpower Search, we provide permanent placement search, specializing in the placement of executive assistants, CFOs, controllers, and marketing professionals.  We are also pleased to offer discounted rates for non-profits.
 
Manpower-West is the largest Manpower franchise in the U.S., with annual revenues exceeding $125 million. Each day, we employ 3,500 associates jobs in our region, allowing our clients’ companies and their employees to thrive in the ever-changing world of work. 
 
2) What are some advantages to being located and doing business in San Diego?
With all the great economic strides San Diego has made in recent years, we’ve become home to some of the world’s most innovative and vibrant companies, especially in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, and cybersecurity. Learn more about Manpower's critical presence in San Diego here.
 
3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game. 
Qualcomm will always be near and dear to our heart.  It continues to be the employer of choice and one of the most innovative and exciting companies in our region.
 
4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego? 
We’re excited about the potential for growth -- not only throughout the soon to be eight states in which we operate franchises, but also about San Diego’s continued potential as a global economic hub. That’s true in so many ways, especially within the past decade or so. We truly believe the best is yet to come.
 

September 8, 2015

Four decades of innovative musical technology poured into millions of acoustic and electric guitars has made Taylor Guitars a leading contender in instrument manufacturing. The company has equipped world-renowned artists from Taylor Swift and Jason Mraz to Black Sabbath’s Toni Iommi with well-crafted, easy-to-play guitars. With more than 900 employees, the company produces hundreds of guitars per day in its state-of-the-art factory complexes in both El Cajon and in Tecate, Mexico. For the third consecutive year, Taylor Guitars will open its doors alongside 30 other regional manufacturers to celebrate National Manufacturing Day on October 2.

 This week we talked with Barbara Wight, CFO of Taylor Guitars, about why the company chose San Diego.

Tell us what your company does.

Established in 1974 by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug, Taylor Guitars has evolved into one of the world’s leading manufacturers of premium acoustic and electric guitars. Renowned for blending an innovative use of modern technology with a master craftsman's attention to detail, Taylor guitars are widely considered the best sounding and easiest to play in the world. The company was a pioneer of the use of computer technology, lasers and other high-tech tools and machinery. Today, Taylor Guitars is widely recognized throughout the musical instrument industry as the visionary acoustic guitar manufacturer. Outstanding playability, flawless craftsmanship, and stunning aesthetics are just a few of the reasons that many of today’s leading musicians make Taylor their guitar of choice.

What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

Since the company’s inception, Taylor has remained located in San Diego as it gives us the ability to attract and retain quality employees who want to live here, resulting in increased tenure and a quality pool of employees. Along with this, we are able to operate as a binational manufacturer with factories in both El Cajon and Tecate giving us a high-level of quality control over our products.

San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

Deering Banjos is known throughout the world as a leader in its product class, and for good reason. Founded in the same shop as Taylor Guitars by Greg and Janet Deering 40 years ago, the company has continued to thrive in San Diego. If you turn on the TV or look in any entertainment magazine, alongside the acoustic guitar, Deering banjos are the instruments du jour of some of today’s biggest acts. 

What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

As a company, we anticipate additional growth in size, capacity and market share. We will continue to grow our brand presence and the true ‘Taylor experience’ in additional regions in the world. We expect San Diego to continue to be a world-class location for both businesses and families.

September 1, 2015

For 138 years, Dentons' presence in San Diego has been a vital part of business and civic life. Operating out of its downtown and La Jolla offices, Dentons’ lawyers provide comprehensive legal counsel to a broad spectrum of businesses, including startup ventures, closely held firms, publicly traded companies and multinational corporations headquartered in Southern California, the U.S. and across the globe. This week, we talked with Kurt Kicklighter about why San Diego’s innovative culture matters to Dentons.

1) Please tell us what your company does.

On July 1, 2015, Dentons US and McKenna Long & Aldridge merged, expanding Dentons’ geographic reach and strengthening our talent base in the U.S. Dentons offers clients the full range of business and dispute resolution services through approximately 3,000 lawyers and professionals, 1,100 of whom are located in the U.S., delivering integrated, multidisciplinary cross-border solutions at any one of our 80-plus locations in 50-plus countries.

Dentons is driven to provide a competitive edge in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. A top 20 firm on the Acritas 2014 Global Elite Brand Index, we are committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent and uncompromising quality in new and inventive ways. With a legacy of legal experience that dates back to 1742 and builds on the strengths of our foundational firms—Salans, Fraser Milner Casgrain (FMC), SNR Denton and McKenna Long & Aldridge—the Firm serves the local, regional and global needs of private and public clients.

2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

Dentons is a polycentric firm with no dominant national culture or single headquarters. This approach benefits our clients as they compete in their particular industries and in global markets, providing legal talent from diverse backgrounds regardless of geography. While this polycentric approach may sound like some futuristic vision, it is happening today—in San Diego and elsewhere. Marketplaces that were out of reach only a few years ago are today eager to have San Diego usher in this new era of commerce. Witness, for example, how quickly our city’s biotech sector has blossomed in a relatively short time period. According to a recent study, nearly 450 technology and life sciences startups were founded in San Diego just last year. These companies emerge here and quickly flourish on the international scene.

3) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

Earlier this year, the Firm launched NextLaw Labs—a collaborative innovation platform focused on investing in, developing, and deploying new technologies to transform the practice of law and benefit our clients—and we continue to find timely, innovative and practical solutions to get a deal done or a dispute resolved.  As our clients’ business changes, we change ours as well.

San Diego’s development depends more than ever on attracting international partners to our city’s collaborative, innovative culture and bi-national economic engine, and Dentons is excited to be a part of this growth.